Is Adobe Flash Available for the iPad?

Not officially, but here's why you don't need it

Adobe Flash is not officially supported on iOS devices, including the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. In fact, Apple has never supported it on the tablet. Steve Jobs famously wrote a detailed white paper on why Apple wouldn't support Flash. His reasons included Flash's poor battery performance and numerous bugs that could cause the device to crash. Since then, Adobe has dropped support for the mobile Flash player, effectively ending any chance it will find support on the iPad, iPhone, or even Android smartphones and tablets.

This article applies to all versions of iOS.

Do You Actually Need Flash on the iPad?

When the iPad first released, the web depended on Flash for video. Most major video sites (such as YouTube) now support the new HTML 5 standards, which allow visitors to view videos in a web browser without a third-party service like Adobe Flash. HTML 5 also allows for more complicated, app-like web pages. In short, the tasks that required Flash 10 years ago don't anymore.

Most websites and web services that previously required Flash have developed either a native web page viewable in the iPad's web browser or an app for the service. In many ways, the App Store is the second iteration of the web, allowing companies to deliver a better experience.

Are There Any Substitutes for Flash on the iPad?

While most websites have moved away from Flash, some services still require it. Many web-based games still require Flash, too. Don't worry: if you absolutely must have Flash, you can get around the iPad's lack of native support.

Girl on video call on tablet
Hoxton / Tom Merton / Getty Images

Third-party browsers supporting Flash essentially download the web page to a distant server and use a mixture of video and HTML to display the Flash app on your iPad. This means the Flash apps can be a little laggy or hard to control at times, but most work perfectly fine on these browsers, despite being processed remotely. The most popular browser supporting Flash is the Photon Web Browser, but a few others also support it to varying degrees.

The Casual Games Substitute

The most popular reason people want to run Flash on iPad is to play fun video games. The iPad is the king of casual games, and most titles on the web have app-based equivalents. It's worth searching the App Store for the game rather than relying on a browser like Photon. App versions of games play much more smoothly as native apps than games that rely on third-party servers to essentially stream games to the iPad.